§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 2:—
§ (9.0) MR. BOND moved an Amendment enabling local authorities to save up moneys which they did not want for certain purposes. He urged that it was desirable the whisky money should be ear-marked, and if unappropriated in a 1578 certain year should go into a Reserve Fund, and accumulate until it was required for permanent purposes, such as the building of colleges or schools, or the endowment of chairs. Hitherto there had been a tendency to devote surplus funds to the relief of the rates, and that he held was not desirable.
In page 1, line 20, after the word 'apply to insert the words 'all or so much as they deem necessary of.'"—(Mr. Bond.)
§ Question proposed "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said He was not sure that some alteration of the phraseology of the Clause was not necessary in consequence of the last Amendment which the Committee made by turning the word "may" into "shall." It was now directed that the whole of the money was to be spent on technical and higher education, and it was perhaps desirable to indicate that the local authorities should not be obliged to apply all in one year, but only so much as was necessary for the purposes of the year, and to carry forward the unspent balance. Before the Report stage he would consider what changes should be made, but he did not like to pledge the Government at once.
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
said he thought the Amendment a most proper one. The Clause had been made mandatory, and it was absurd to leave it that the money should be spent in a certain period whether it was wanted or not. This proposal to give discretion as to the time of the use of the money must commend itself to the judgment of the Committee, especially as, in the case of the Welsh Bill, the plan had been found to work well.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to accept the Amendment on the understanding that the phraseology may be revised on the Report stage?
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
asked as to the exact meaning of the words "including any balance thereof which may remain unexpended at the end of a financial year." Was that intended to cover any balance which might remain unexpended at the time of the passing of the Act? The word "a" seemed indefinite. Would not the word "any" or "each" be preferable?
§ SIR JOHN GORST
confessed that further words were necessary, because as the clause now stood it did not make sense. It was necessary to say what was to be carried forward. He rather favoured the words "any balance thereof which may remain unexpended."
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
With the permission of the Committee I will move the omission of the words "at the end of a financial year."
§ This Amendment was agreed to.
§ (9.15.) MR. CHAPLIN
said the object of the Amendment He had on the Paper was to prevent the cost of higher education being paid entirely out of the rates as proposed in the Bill. The only way in which he could do that was to move an Amendment of this kind. The Committee was aware that it was not within the power or province of any Member of the House, not being one of His Majesty's Ministers, to propose an addition to expenditure from Imperial funds, and he had, therefore, had to resort to the expedient of moving a reduction, because if He were successful it would then be for the Government to make other proposals in order to give effect to their views and desires with regard to secondary education. He would like to say a word or two with regard to some passages between the First Lord and himself on the last Amendment. He had found on reflection that he was wrong in his statement that the course taken by the Government was contrary to their pledges, and he accordingly withdrew it unreservedly. But undoubtedly it had been the policy of the Government not to add to the burden of the rates, especially in districts where circumstances which were notorious rendered any 1580 addition to the rates at the present time a matter of serious concern to the ratepayers. His desire—and surely it was not unreasonable—was that the expenditure for secondary education should be treated on precisely the same footing as the concessions announced in regard to elementary education. The Government had undoubtedly made very considerable concessions with regard to the national funds in the case of elementary education and on that point he wished to offer the First Lord of the Treasury his thanks. The Government in that matter had acted exactly as he should have desired, and if they could only be persuaded to apply the same treatment to secondary education he thought it would do more than anything else to facilitate the Bill, It had been his misfortune to have to speak on three or four occasions in opposition to the proposals of the Government, and it had been very far from his wishes to do so, because with the exception of the financial clauses he was entirely in favour of the Bill of his right hon. friend. He failed to understand what was the reason for making the distinction between elementary and secondary education in this matter. They were all agreed that education—whether elementary or secondary—was a matter of the highest national importance. They had claimed for years that it was a subject which should be paid for out of national funds. So far as local administration was concerned it was necessary to have a check on extravagance, and that check could be most effectually administered by placing a portion of the burden on the rates. That was already done in regard to elementary education. Why should the cost of secondary education be taken entirely out of the rates? It was entirely optional on the part of the local authority, whereas elementary education was compulsory. His case was that a subject of national importance should be provided for out of national funds, there being of course the necessary check against extravagance. As the clause now stood, it could not have any other possible effect than to make secondary education practically compulsory, and in view of the fact that the Committee had decided that it was the duty of the local authority not only to consider the needs 1581 of education, but to take such steps, after consultation with the Education Department, as might seem to them desirable to aid the supply of education other than elementary, how could it he otherwise than compulsory? No one would deny that secondary and higher education was most desirable, and it having been as a result of the debates made practically compulsory, it ought to be subjected to the same financial treatment as elementary education. He had withdrawn his accusation with regard to broken pledges against the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues, but that did not exonerate him from his bond to his constituents to do his best to prevent the whole cost of education entailed by that Bill being placed entirely on the rates. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord the other day received a most numerous and important deputation at his instance, which urged that the cost of national education should be borne by the Imperial Exchequer and not by the local rates. Unfortunately many hon. Members who took part in that deputation were nut present to support him now, but still he hoped he would get assistance from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite.
In page 1, line 22, to leave out all the words after the word "year," to end of Clause, in order to insert the words "together with such further sums as they may raise out of rates under this Act not exceeding the amount which would be produced by a rate of one penny in the pound."—(Mr. Chaplin.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ (9.27.) SIR JOHN GORST
said this was a proposal to reduce the amount which the local education authority might raise from the rates for secondary education from 2d. to 1d. in the £, and that, of course, the Government could not possibly accede to. He would point out that secondary and higher education was nothing like so costly as elementary education. Practically the whole cost of the latter had to be provided, but in regard to the former a very large proportion might be paid by the parents of the students themselves. What was really wanted was to defray the cost of the higher education of those who were unable to pay 1582 for it themselves, but whose talents and abilities were of such a character as to render it to the interest of the nation at largo that the education should be secured to them. He would remind his right hon. friend that the Committee had just appropriated the local taxation money which came out of the Imperial Exchequer to that distinct purpose. Then, again, the grants given out of the Imperial Exchequer to schools were very large. Very considerable grants were given not only to Science and Art schools, but also other schools, which had a curriculum approved by the Board of Education, had very liberal capitation grants made to them. The grants to evening continuation schools were also very liberal. They had been raised in the present year; and met, he thought, quite as much of the cost of higher education as it was reasonable to ask the Imperial Government to pay. The Amendment of his right hon. friend would leave the local ratepayer in exactly the same position as He now was, and with the same moans at his disposal. The rate of 1d. was the rate to which He was already liable; and the present Bill only increased his potential liability by another penny. That was the utmost to which the liability of the ratepayer was extended under the Bill. It was quite true that the decision in the celebrated Cockerton case threw on the county authorities an entirely new obligation, which was formerly borne by the School Boards, and which was paid for out of the school rate. That was to say, that whereas the School Boards formerly raised out of the education rate an amount sufficient to pay for the continuation schools, they were no longer able to raise it; and it had to be provided for by the Town Councils and County Councils in some other way. In fact, the present Bill in the case of the large county boroughs would practically make no change whatever in the position of the ratepayer. It was quite true that in a great number of large county boroughs the whole of the local taxation money and the whole of the proceeds of the 1d. rate were already applied to technical education; and when the burden of the evening continuation schools was shifted from the School Boards to the town councils it really made no difference to the ratepayer; and, therefore, in the great county boroughs the Bill did not throw any increased burden on the rate 1583 payer. It merely shifted the cost of maintaining the evening schools, which amounted to something like a 1d. rate, from one tax to another tax. It came equally out of the ratepayers' pocket in both cases. It was quite true that in most of the counties the 1d. rate for higher education was not levied; nor was the local taxation money spent in all cases for that purpose. He thought, however, that owing to the exigencies of debate, justice had not been done to the counties in the matter. He thought the reason why they had not spent more money was that they were gradually feeling their way towards expending their money in a judicious and prudent manner. When the local taxation money was first given to the counties, He thought that they wasted a great deal of it in expenditure they were not prepared for. No doubt they threw away a great part of it in injudicious schemes. But since then, they had been gradually feeling their way towards a more judicious expenditure of money on higher education. For example, the Technical Instruction Board of the London County Council, which was one of the greatest educational authorities in the country, had only just spent the whole of the local taxation money, because it was feeling its way as to how that money should be spent to the best advantage in improving education in London. So it was with a great many of the counties, who had just now got to be able to spend wisely the whole of their local taxation money; and even without the Bill at all, a great number of the counties would now be beginning to see their way to a judicious expenditure of the 1d. rate on evening schools. The hon. Member for North Camberwell read out the particular subjects in which a great many of the counties were spending their local taxation money, in the advance of technological instruction in the very occupations which were carried on in the rural districts, and they were gradually feeling their way to a larger and better expenditure of money. He did not think that even the expenditure of a 2d. rate would be too much for carrying on continuation schools, and technological, agricultural, and other schools which were so extremely necessary. With regard to the interest of the rate-payer, he would remind the Committee 1584 that they had not spent anything like what had been spent in other countries on technological instruction. The Committee would remember that the Vice-President of Agriculture in Ireland was, before he became a Minister of the Crown, chairman of a Committee, consisting of all parties, which inquired into the causes of agricultural depression in Ireland, which was really analogous to the question of agricultural depression in other parts of the United Kingdom. That Committee visited several foreign countries, among others the neighbouring kingdom of Denmark; and they reported that the reason why agriculture was flourishing in Denmark was that the farmer and the labourer employed on the land were so very much better instructed than persons similarly employed in Ireland; and that they were able to make a prosperous and thriving business of agriculture, which in Ireland was a failure. The Committee also referred to the number of secondary schools and special agricultural schools, which, during the last generation, had been established in Ireland. He had not the slightest hesitation in saying that if similar progress had been made in Ireland and Lincolnshire, and other comparatively speaking benighted parts of the United Kingdom, as had been made in Denmark, for instance, the position of the ratepayer, the farmer and the labourer would be enormously improved; and that Lincolnshire and Ireland and other places would become as prosperous as Denmark, Switzerland, Normandy, and other agricultural parts of the Continent. Therefore, while appreciating the motives of his right hon. friend, he thought that, in the case of towns, the Bill put no additional burden whatever, and that, in the case of rural districts, it only put on a potential burden which might be used for spreading technological instruction in them, and which would minister greatly to their prosperity.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
said he supported the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division that the deputation to the First Lord of the Treasury did not object in the slightest degree to expenditure on education, however large; but that they objected 1585 to additional taxation being put on the already overburdened ratepayer. He could not agree with the sentiment expressed the other day by his right hon. friend the Member for the Stirling Burghs, when he said, as regarded the poor, the question of Imperial taxation was much mere serious than local taxation. In the rural districts the complaint was not about Imperial taxation being heavy, but about the burden of the local rates on the very poor, and on the small freeholder and the small tradesman. These were the men by whom the heavy burden of local taxation was felt, and in many districts they formed a majority of the smaller ratepayers. If such persons were to be rated heavily for primary and technical education, it would result in making education unpopular in rural districts, and he, for one, would never assent to anything that would make education unpopular, because once that feeling was set up in the country, the greatest blow it would be possible to conceive would be dealt at education. He was, therefore, supporting the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford, because he was as anxious as any man to promote education in every possible way. It was stated by his hon. friend the Member for the Saffron Walden Division that, although it was permissive at the present moment, the County Councils had devoted the whole of the whisky money, with the exception of a trifling sum of £30,000 to technical education, so what need was there for compulsion? His hon. friend also said that farmers were so stupid that they required technical education in order to carry on their business, and that agricultural depression was due to the want of better technical education. He could not agree with his hon. friend. From his own experience, He could say that farmers, as a class, were very well able and very well qualified to carry on their business, and it was very doubtful whether Technical Education Committees could teach them very much more than they could learn from their own societies. No, it was bad seasons and bad prices which had caused agricultural depression. In his own county of Somersetshire, the Technical Education Committee set up a farm to 1586 teach farmers how to carry on their business, but after a large acreage had been sown with oats the produce turned out to be mainly thistles, owing to their bad farming. That showed that the Technical Instruction Committees often wasted money, and he thought that the County Councils should have complete control over such Committees. The Committee had insisted that the whole of the technical education money should, rightly or wrongly, be spent in Technical Education. That provision removed a great deal of the check which the County Councils possessed in seeing that the money was spent wisely, as the Technical Instruction Committees could now, without fear of withdrawal, do what they liked, and even waste the money. He did not say that all the money was wasted in Somerset, or in any other county; but undoubtedly much money had been wasted by County and Borough Councils. The Vice-President himself admitted that County and Borough Technical Education Committees had wasted money in the past; but apparently he was now quite prepared to give them an absolute free hand in the future. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the great improvement which Mr. Plunkett had effected in Irish agriculture; but he would remind the right hon. Gentleman that the money for that purpose came out of the Imperial Exchequer; and his contention was that money should be given in England in the same way. Technical education such as was proposed was a national matter, and he could not conceive why the whole cost of it, except the whisky money, should be thrown on the rates. He could not account for that, except on the supposition that the Government had reserved the policy on which they had always prided themselves that they were ready to help agricultural ratepayers to keep down the rates. Perhaps they now held that the farmers, after seven years of Tory government, were so well off that it did not matter what burdens were imposed on them. It was not a matter for local rating, but an Imperial concern; and the money required for it should be provided out of the Imperial Exchequer.
§ (9.45.) MR. CRIPPS (Lancashire, Stretford)
said he thought that there had been some mistake as to what bad been said by the Royal Commission. It was an extremely important point, as it raised, perhaps, the most important of all questions as between Imperial and local finance. He wished first of all, however, to say a few words on the general principle involved. He was strongly in favour, and he represented a constituency which was strongly in favour, of advancing technical and secondary education; and he had been chairman of a Technical Instruction Committee in an agricultural county which spent every farthing of the whisky money, as it was called, on secondary and technical education, to, he hoped, the great benefit of agriculture and other industries in that county. He wished to make it clear that he entirely dissented from the view which had been advanced in the debate, that those who wanted to put the finance of this question on a sound basis were in any way opposed to secondary or technical education. On the contrary, from an educational point of view, and from the point of view of furthering, as much as possible, the cause of secondary and technical education, it was most important that they should have a sound and proper financial basis. The Royal Commission had nothing to do directly with the education question, but they came to the conclusion that if there were to be efficiency in regard to local services, the best way to obtain it was to give a certain amount—the particular amount he would not now discuss—from the national Exchequer on the guarantee that there should be a certain level of efficiency, as regarded local administration. He would apply that principle with reference to education. Why had the Welsh Intermediate Education Act been a success? The reason that they had educational efficiency under the Act was that there was a grant from the Imperial Exchequer in proportion to the rate raised locally. The inducement which had caused that rate to be raised was that a proportionate grant would be received from the national Exchequer. If they really wanted to encourage technical and secondary education, they ought to give sufficient funds, and 1588 follow the precedent of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act and induce the people to contribute from the local rates by giving them an equal contribution from the national Exchequer. The essence of the Bill, if it was to be really valuable as regarded secondary and technical education, was that the controlling authorities should have sufficient funds at their disposal. As the Bill at present stood, he thought there was great risk that secondary and technical education might be comparatively starved owing to insufficient financial provision. He was speaking partly on behalf of an agricultural constituency, and partly in respect of a Lancashire constituency. In a large urban constituency like the latter, it was perfectly natural that they should have more inducement and more stimulus with reference to technical and secondary education than in a purely rural district. He did not dissent from what the Vice-President had said, that it would be an advantage to have the best system of technical education in the agricultural districts. He could not see why they should not have the same opportunities as the boroughs, and why they should not be able to have the advantage of even the Universities themselves. From the point of view of the farming class, in which he was intensely interested, there was no class which should be more concerned in the establishment of a proper system of secondary education. Elementary education was not sufficient, and if they wished to give the farming class a proportionate interest in the educational system of the country, they should establish improved secondary and technical schools in the agricultural districts. With reference to the Amendment of his right hon. friend the Member for the Sleaford Division, he would wish to cite the views of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation. First of all, it said that, as regards funds voted by this House, they ought to be appropriated by the House to the particular purpose to which they were to be devoted. That was the reason he voted for the word "shall" in the last division, because, according to the view of the Royal Commission, they ought, as regarded secondary instruction, to have a large proportion of the funds specifically 1589 appropriated to that purpose. Otherwise, there would he a liability to waste, and the funds might be dissipated by the local authorities. Then the Royal Commission had to consider—and it was one of the chief subjects of its labour—how to adjust a fair contribution as between what were called local charges and Imperial charges. The Commission found that with reference to Imperial charges imperially a lministered there was no question; and that with reference to purely local charges, such as sewerage, there was no question; but that there were a large number of services, generally called national, and which in any ordinary classification would be classed as national, carried out by local administration. Of course, he took the view that it was one of the advantages which the country possessed, that it had a better system of local administration than probably any other country in the world. But if they were to have local administration as regarded national services, it would he grossly unfair to put an undue part of the charge for those services on the local ratepayer, because, for the purposes of administration, the best agent was the local authority. The Bill said that any additional funds to be devoted to technical and secondary education must come out of the ratepayer's pocket. What was secondary or technical education for? First of all, it was to improve the higher culture of the nation. That was a national matter. There was no local element in it. It was not a county or a borough or an urban district matter. What was the next point? They wanted better technical instruction in order that, in their commercial enterprises, they should hold their own, and keep the great advantage that they at present possessed. Was that a local matter? It was quite a national matter, and proper funds for it should be provided out of the national Exchequer. He would take another illustration. It was said that one of the great needs of the country was the need of undenominational training colleges. He entirely agreed; but they could not expect the ratepayers to set up those colleges. It was not a local matter. Looking at ordinary human nature as it was, if they were to have 1590 effective teachers' colleges, it was monstrous to suggest that the ratepayers alone should pay for them. Yet that was the scheme of the Bill. The whisky money was appropriated already, and, therefore, any advance required in secondary education—one of the most crying needs of the age—depended on the goodwill of the ratepayers. But the burden ought not to He put on them. He would give a further illustration as indicating the harshness of making local administration an excuse for throwing an undue burden on the local ratepayers. The ratepayers in this country represented only about a third of the taxable property of the country, and, in many respects, it was the poorest from whom anything in the shape of rates was taken. The question of rating affected, for instance, the housing problem in the largo towns enormously; and if they put an undue burden on the rates, they would be putting, to a great extent, an undue burden on the class least able to bear it. How could any hon. Member get up and substantiate the proposition that as regarded secondary and technical education, two-thirds of the wealth of the country ought to escape from any burden at all? How about the richer classes—the millionaires, the investors who derived incomes from foreign investments to the extent of £200,000,000 or more in the year? Were they to escape all burden for technical or secondary education? How could the putting of the whole burden on a third of the property of the country be justified? That meant that every man who paid, paid I three times more than he ought to have paid if the burden were distributed fairly and equitably. These were the views of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation. Every member of that Commission appreciated to the full the necessity of extending education, but it was the duty of the Commissioners—and he hoped they carried it out—to point out the injustice of placing taxation, more than to a limited extent, on the ratepayer; and they said that as regarded education, it being a highly national service, additional expenditure for it should be borne by the national Exchequer. He should not have intervened in the debate were it not that he looked upon the matter as one of the most important points involved in the Bill. It was all very well to say that the Report of the Royal 1591 Commission would be considered by and by. They all knew it had to be considered now, or the time would pass away. The Royal Commission said that, at the present moment, as regarded national services locally administered, the ratepayer was inequitably treated; and if anything were to be done under the Bill for secondary or technical education, that inequality would be exaggerated in his disfavour. He was one of the keenest supporters of the Bill, and He believed in the necessity of co-ordinating the elementary and higher systems of education, but that should not be done by sacrificing justice. If it were done in that way it would react and bring about a starving condition with reference to secondary and technical education, which he believed was contrary to the views of the vast majority of hon. Members on both sides of the House.
§ MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
said the Committee had heard a very able and plausible speech from the hon. and learned Member, but it really was not a speech on the Amendment. One would have thought that the proposal was to compel the local authorities in the rural districts to pay two pence in the £ for technical instruction. The Amendment was that they should not rate themselves more than a penny for technical instruction, and, therefore, all the arguments as to the rural ratepayer being overburdened did not apply. The whole argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division and his friends the day before was that the Committee ought to trust the local authorities in the rural districts to do their duty, and that they ought not to be compelled to do it. Now the argument apparently was that if they were trusted they would spend two pence, and, therefore, they ought to be put under compulsion not to spend more than a penny. The arguments of the hon. and learned Member as to the disparity of rating were really beside the mark. In the great majority of the administrative counties, not the county boroughs, State aid had been given to secondary and technical education. The local rates had not been used, and rural districts had not rated themselves even to the extent of 1d. in the 1592 pound, nor had they spent the whole of the whisky money. Therefore the plausible arguments of the hon. and learned Member broke down. If they were going to extend secondary education in the rural districts, the only hope that it would be put on a proper footing was to have the local authorities spending their own money. With the exception of a few counties, the whisky money had been ladled out to existing secondary schools without producing much reform. His argument was that if the technical and secondary schools were to be looked after, the local authorities should be made to spend their own money. He wished to point out to the Committee that throughout the country they now had secondary schools, which might fairly be called bounty-fed schools, which received very considerable sums indeed from the whisky money and derived very large revenues from ancient endowments not intended to apply to that class of school at all. These schools were already receiving largo sums of public money, and they would be able in future to get the Government grant if they adopted a modern curriculum. For these reasons he did not think that a specific grant was required for secondary education, oven on the principle laid down by the hon. and learned Member, that it should be accompanied by a corresponding grant from the local rates. The proper plan was to leave the matter to the discretion of the local authorities; and he claimed the vote of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division for that view, because the right hon. Gentleman had pleaded, again and again, during the debates on the Bill, for freedom of action for the local authorities, and that was what he was pleading for now.
§ (10.18.) MR. DAVID MACIVER (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
said that his right hon. friend's Amendment expressed his views on the subject before the Committee. He was afraid He was in a small minority—but he was not necessarily wrong because he was in a minority—in believing that the House of Commons had gone education mad. He had listened with regret to the remarks of the Vice-President of the Council with reference to agricultural depression in England and Ireland. They 1593 all knew the old story of the man who proposed pills as a remedy against earthquakes. He thought the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman that technical instruction could cure agricultural depression was just as absurd It so happened that a few days ago he had an opportunity of talking to his constituents on the Bill, and he found that they had a very strong feeling that they should not be rated for the purpose of enabling anybody to receive higher education. If the country as a whole believed that secondary education would be a very great national advantage, the country ought to pay for it. He, himself, would not vote for anything which would have the effect of increasing the charge on local rates.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I hope the Committee will not be led, by the speeches of my hon. and learned friend and others, into a general discussion upon the whole rating question. Everybody admits that our existing system of rating is one which requires seeing to, and has many anomalies. But that is not the question before us. If the Committee raises that gigantic problem on the discussion as to whether the limit of the rate for secondary education should be 2d. or 1d., I do not see how business is ever to be carried on in this House at all. For my part, on behalf of the Government, I can only repeat that we think the limitation of 1d. too rigid. The Committee will have to argue later on whether it is proper to have a limitation at all. There are Amendments on the Paper which have for their object the abolition of the limitation of even 2d. The Government will not be able to accept those Amendments, but, at all events, we do not think that the 2d. rate should be diminished to 1d. It is quite clear that under the new system, made not by this Bill, but by the Cockerton judgment, a great many charges have to be thrown on secondary education which used to be thought to belong to primary education. That being so, there must be some increase of resources. The authorities need not go up to a 2d. rate if they think their duties as the educational authorities are satisfied by a less expenditure of public funds, but we think that, on the whole, it is more desirable that a 2d. rate than that a 1d. rate should be made the primâ facie limit. I would ask the Committee to deal with the 1594 Amendment without going into the illimitable questions which have, unfortunately, been raised during the debate by the very interesting but somewhat discursive speeches which have been made, and I hope they will consent now to come to a decision on this point.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said the right hon. Gentleman had expressed regret that the question of local taxation had been raised. But who were responsible for it being raised? The promoters of this Bill, because the clause under discussion, in direct contradiction of all recent policy of the Government, and in direct violation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission which they themselves appointed, proposed to put these extra burdens on the rates. Then, because the supporters of this Amendment endeavoured to point out the injustice of that course, the right hon. Gentleman attacked them for making discursive speeches.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said his right hon. friend misjudged him. He had attacked nobody. There was nothing new in this policy; it was the old policy of the Government on the subject, and had been emphasised in previous Bills.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
admitted it was not a new policy. It was the old policy of twenty years ago to burden the rates as much as possible; but he challenged the right hon. Gentleman to deny that the recent policy of the Government had been, not to add to the rates, but, where possible, to avoid doing so, especially in regard to impoverished agricultural districts.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said that as he had been challenged, he would say most distinctly that in the Bill of last year, for which his right hon. friend was not responsible, and in the Bill of 1896, for which he was responsible, precisely the same policy was followed.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
acknowledged a formal responsibility for the Bill of 1896, but that was one of those unfortunate measures which came to an untimely end, and it was before the passing of the Agricultural Rating Act, at which time he gave the policy of the Government his support. Therefore, even on the 1595 showing of his right hon. friend, his statement was justified. He sincerely regretted that no response had been made to his appeal. What would the supporters of the Government in the counties think of this departure from recent policy, and of the deaf ear which had been turned to appeals made on their behalf? The Vice-President, while acknowledging that it would make no difference at all to county boroughs, had admitted that it would make a serious difference to benighted counties such as Lincolnshire. But he would remind the right hon. Gentleman, when he called Lincolnshire benighted because it had not done all that Denmark, with the assistance of the Danish Government, had been able to do in the way of dairy-farming, that that county was a purely agricultural and arable county, and was not suited for dairy-farming, and that, as long as arable farming paid, no county was better cultivated. He would also remind him that when the Chancellor of the Exchequer was in a difficulty as to what he should do with the whisky money, he had just been appointed President of the Board of Agriculture, and he told the Chancellor of the Exchequer that if he would give him £100,000 a year he would kill the Danish butter trade in this country, and he was perfectly certain he would have been able to do it. He was sorry no response had been made to his appeal, and he felt bound by the pledges he had given, and in the interests of those he directly represented, to take the Amend-to a division.
§ (10.35.) MR. ALFRED HUTTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Morley)
said the Committee had had an interesting discussion upon what ought to be the duties and powers of the new authority with regard to secondary education, and they now came to the proposals of the Government with regard to the machinery and finance to enable the authority to carry out those powers and duties. Anybody who had a supreme anxiety for the success of the Councils in the conduct of secondary education was bound to feel that the financial proposals and the suggested machinery were entirely unequal to the 1596 demands which would be made upon them. The financial proposals were trumpery, and the machinery exceedingly clumsy. The 2d. limit would entirely miss the mark which the Government desired to reach, because if the county of Lincolnshire and other rural districts were really anxious to keep down the rates and prevent expenditure on secondary education, they would never reach the limit of 2d., and therefore would never need the proviso as to Provisional Orders to exceed that limit. In actual working the limit would be a serious obstacle to the County Councils and boroughs which were really keen in their interest in education, while it would not come into operation so far as concerned those rural districts for which the right hon. Member for Sleaford spoke, and it would provide a lever to those who desired to keep things as they were. When an effort was made earlier in the day to apply compulsion, the First Lord pleaded that the County Councils should not be driven, that they should be led or drawn out. If he thought there was sufficient temptation to draw them out he would not move his Amendment, but the Clause provided neither compulsion nor coaxing power. The position of many counties under this Clause would be worse than in the past. Every sentence of the Leader of the House in opposition to the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford helped to prove that a 2d. limit was not sufficient for the needs of the districts and boroughs concerned. All those classes of schools which came under the Cockerton judgment had been transferred from the area of elementary to that of secondary education, and would have to come on this 2d. rate. He had heard the Chairman of the Bradford School Board estimate that the expense of the present Cockertonised schools in that city was equal to a 4½d. rate. But even taking it at 3d., how could those schools be transferred if the limit under the Act was 2d.? Many towns had also undertaken the responsibility of carrying on the municipal technical schools. Manchester had spent £250,000 on their technical school, being determined to have one equal to any in this country or on the Continent. That was a very praiseworthy object, but to 1597 carry on such schools would certainly cost a great deal more than the yield of a 2d. rate. This was a most extra ordinary practice, for he did not know any other case with the exception of baths and washhouses, where the rate was limited. [An HON. MEMBER: Libraries.] Yes, but libraries were intended to be educational for the people who used them.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON
said the Parish Councils might he limited in their total rate, but it seemed to him rather unfortunate that the Government should place this limit at 2d. He wondered how many times the First Lord of the Treasury had stated that this Bill was intended to carry out the principle of devolution. The right hon. Gentleman had often stated that he preferred to trust the Councils, and he did not suppose there was a single hen. Member opposite who had not reiterated the statement that their first object was to trust the Councils in regard to education. Why was it, then, that in the new education authority, which was to be created by this Bill, they absolutely refused to trust them? The right hon. Gentleman, not only in this House but in other places, had frequently argued that they must have a broad basis for their education, but how could he consistently use that argument to the London Chamber of Commerce when He was responsible to the House of Commons for a Bill which proposed to limit the supply of education to a 2d. rate in regard to technical and secondary education I Let him trust the local authorities in this matter. This proposal would only come into effect in towns and counties where they needed a more extensive system than could be secured by a 2d. rate, and in the interests of the larger boroughs the right hon. Gentleman ought to consent to remove this obstacle. Hon. Members opposite had shared too long the fears entertained by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet, which had kept back education so long in this country, and it was quite time that the Government showed that they were independent of those who 1598 were always prophesying evil in this matter, If the right hon. Gentleman would leave this question open, without any indication of the Government view, he felt sure that the Amendment would be carried. If the First Lord of the Treasury would only agree to this course, it would enable them to secure the free and unfettered judgment of the Committee upon this point.
In page 1, line 22, after the word 'and' to leave out all the words to the end of the clause, and insert the words is empowered to raise out of rates such additional sums as may be required.'"—(Mr. Alfred Hutton.)
§ Question, proposed "That the words 'may spend such further sums as they think fit, provided that,' stand part of the clause."
§ (10.50.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am sure that the whole Committee will regard the views expressed by the hon. Member opposite with a tender and sympathetic interest. The hon. Member accuses us of bowing the knee to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford has just occupied the best part of an hour in denouncing the Government, and, after that, it seems rather hard that the Government should be blamed for paying too much consideration to the views of my right hon. friend. I am sorry the Government was not able to satisfy my right hon. friend in regard to the last Amendment, but no offence to my right hon. friend was intended in what I said, nor did I intend to injure the right hon. Gentleman's feelings as an agricultural economist. We sympathise with his attitude, but we do not agree with his conclusions. It is easier, as a mere matter of Parliamentary dialectics, to support the attitude the Government took in the last division, than the attitude they mean to take in regard to this Amendment. It is quite true that the Government have stated that in this Education Bill the great thing is to encourage decentralisation and to throw the responsibility upon these great educational bodies, rather than trust largely to the initiative of a central Department. It may, therefore, be asked why we limit the expenditure for higher education 1599 which these great bodies are empowered to make. My reply to that is that there is not an absolute limitation. There is a simple, inexpensive, and rapid way by which any public body which comes to the conclusion that a 2d. rate is insufficient to carry out its duty in regard to secondary education may apply to Parliament to have that limitation altered. Therefore, it is a mistake to suggest that the Government lay down a hard and fast line that nothing more than a 2d. rate should ever be levied for secondary education. In my view it really is in the interests of the promoters of secondary education that they should not unduly alarm the local ratepayer. I do not agree, as the House knows, with the speeches delivered by my right hon. friend the Member for Sleaford and my hon. and learned friend the Member for the Stretford Division. But who will deny that both those distinguished Members of this House have given expression to feelings which are widespread, if not universal, and which, though not in a majority, are prevalent throughout a great area of the country? There are large sections of the population who view with genuine distrust and alarm any great education measure, on the ground that it would tend to throw a great burden upon the rates, and they do not sec at present that the ratepayer has any special interest in education, as a ratepayer. That susceptibility exists, and must be reckoned with. In my judgment, I do not think it would be a prudent course on the part of this House to suggest that these great public bodies should in each case be expected to launch into a great scheme of secondary education, far beyond the limits of anything provided by a 2d. rate. I believe that in most cases a 2d. rate will be sufficient, and more than sufficient, for the purposes of secondary education in many parts of the country. But, be this right or wrong, I am perfectly convinced that, in the interests of education itself, it is our duty to frame this Bill so as not to ignore the great educational interests with which we are dealing, and we should be careful not to throw into the scale against the interests of education these great bodies and their constituents who will, after all, have to administer it. That is a plain question of practical politics; it is not a matter of theory; and I earnestly appeal to the Committee 1600 not to reject the prudential limit which the Government have put on this rate in the Bill. I will not say any more upon this subject now, beyond what I forgot to say when the corresponding Amendment was moved diminishing the amount of rate to be used for secondary education. Including the local taxation money and the science and art grants, the Imperial Exchequer actually spends a million and a half on secondary education. That is no inconsiderable contribution from the pockets of the taxpayers. This is an argument in favour of the attitude we are taking up upon this Amendment, which rests purely upon the broad ground of policy which I venture to suggest to the Committee, and which I am quite sure hon. Members would be wise to accept.
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)
said that he was going to vote against this Amendment, because, in his opinion, there was a very important principle underlying it. They had laid down in regard to primary education that there should be considerable grants from the Imperial Exchequer in aid of what was raised by local rates. In regard to secondary education they were starting with the whisky money, and giving liberty to the local education authority to spend up to a rate of 2d. in the £. There was an Amendment on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Stretford which proposed to strike out the powers given by the Bill to the Education Department, and to allow the local authority to spend more than the 2d. rate, and that raised a principle which he thought ought to be accepted. His hon. friend argued that all secondary education was national, but any one who took the trouble to look at the returns of the way the whisky money had been spent would see that a large amount had been spent on matters purely local. For instance the Warwickshire County Council had spent considerable sums of money upon teaching thatching, fencing, and hedging and ditching, and in many other places the Imperial funds were being spent upon what were practically local interests. Therefore secondary and technical education was partly national and partly local. What he wanted the Government 1601 to do was to say that after the local education authority had expended up to a 2d. rate they would accept the principle, of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act and give them I penny for penny, or halfpenny for halfpenny, according to the expenditure of the county. That would encourage expenditure on secondary education in the counties. No one who had listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford, and who possessed any knowledge of secondary education, could help seeing that their object was not to encourage the spread of secondary and technical education, but under any circumstances to prevent the ratepayer having to pay for it. That was not the attitude which those who desired to better education ought to take up. The first thing they ought to do was to sec that they encouraged the secondary education of the country. The First Lord of the Treasury was quite right when he said that there was a certain section of the community who were afraid of any expenditure from the rates at all, but he did not believe this feeling was so widespread as had been stated. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford would find if he made inquiries among the farmers, who were said to be the most benighted people in this country, that many of them were giving their sons a very good secondary education. He knew, at any rate of several cases where farmers' sons had won scholarships provided by the County Council with which he was connected. The way to induce the local authorities to spend money on secondary education and go to the full extent of their 2d rate was to hold out something beyond that, so that when they reached that limit they would have some hope of drawing a further sum from the Imperial Exchequer. Upon those grounds he was going to vote against this Amendment, because he wanted to keep the amount fixed at 2d., in order that when that limit had been reached, they might consider the question as to whether some further grant from the Imperial funds should not be made.
§ MR. WARR (Liverpool, East Toxteth)
made an appeal to the Government to leave the local authority unfettered, in regard to the amount of money to be spent. He made the appeal with more confidence than if it were based only upon his own conviction, because the City Council of Liverpool had resolved to ask that this change should be made in the clause. The Provisional Order which the clause contemplated would probably involve a local enquiry with consequent expense, and what was more important serious delay. There was another aspect of the question which made it of additional importance in the case of Liverpool and he believed also in the case of Birmingham. In the course, of the proceedings in Committee today, reference had been made to the Rill promoted by the Corporation of Liverpool, in which power was sought to give assistance out of the, rates to the proposed university in Liverpool, and doubt might arise whether the effect of this might, not be to reduce the limit mentioned in the Education Bill by whatever was applied to the University. He urged that great care should be taken that the provisions of this clause did not affect the powers given to any Council under any private Act of Parliament.
§ MR. WHITLEY THOMSON (Yorkshire, W. R., Skipton)
The object of this Amendment is to give progressive areas permission to rate themselves to what they feel is a proper amount for the purposes of secondary education. When we remember that at present, in addition to spending the whisky money, many County Boroughs have rated themselves to the extent of a Id. rate in favour of technical education alone, and under this Bill it is proposed that all education other than elementary shall be supported out of a 2d. rate, although with the addition of the whisky money, it shows how inadequate a 2d. rate will be. Because, in addition to the technical education already in operation in these centres, organised science schools, training of teachers, and evening continuation schools, will all fall to be supported out of a 2d. rate. Take the ease of Halifax, which has a large technical school, of which I was for many years the Chairman, until very wisely, I think 1603 —the County Borough Council took over he school. There, according to the latest returns, the Excise grant amounted to £1,960, allocated by the County Borough Council thus:—
The 1d. rate produced £1,760, all of which was given to the technical school. To carry on the technical school successfully a further ½d. rate is fully needed, and to levy this ½d. (making in all a rate of 1½d. for technical instruction only) application has been made for powers and this has been sanctioned by a Committee of the House of Commons. Thus out of a possible 2d. already 1½d. is allocated to technical education. A further ½d. would mean a sum of £880, but to carry on education already in existence and which would, under the Bill, come to be provided for by this ½d., larger sums are necessary. At present the expenditure is—
Technical School £1480 0 0 Recrcative Evening Classes 250 0 0 Ovenden Technical School 130 0 0 Heath Grammar School 100 0 0 £1960 0 0
being far in excess of the £880, obtainable by the, ½d. rate. This is a case of a typical progressive town, and I can say that more than a 2d. rate could be very profitably expended. If there is any fear on the part of the Government of a County Borough Council being too extravagant, the ratepayers will soon turn them out at election times if they go too far, and this will constitute a wholesome check on any extravagance. The experience of Halifax is the same as that of Manchester, Bradford, and other large and progressive centres, and it would be wise to give them a free hand. It may be argued, however, that lazy and non-progressive areas would not raise sufficient if the amount were left to their discretion, in which case I would say fix a minimum and take care that it is wisely spent. Why should education and free libraries and wash houses he the only items of municipal expenditure which are limited in amount? Any sums may be spent on police, drains, paving, etc., and yet 1604 perhaps the most important items of municipal expenditure are limited to a fixed rate. It is a most illogical proceeding. Reference has been often made in this debate to America, a country I frequently visit. What do we find there? Take the city of Worcester, which is about the same size as the town of Halifax, Yorkshire. In addition to their elementary and high schools they have a Teachers Training School and a Polytechnic, to which latter students go from nineteen to twenty-two years of age. In Halifax we have neither of these institutions. In Worcester students over fifteen years of age attending public schools amount to 3,362, but in Halifax to only about 80. The cost of students per head in the high and elementary schools and kindergarten in Worcester is £22 8s. 6d., but in Halifax only £3 2s. 9d. Can we expect to cope in business with such figures of expenditure against us? Further, by the laws of Massachusetts, every city of 50,000 or more inhabitants shall maintain annually an evening high school in which shall be taught such subjects as the School Committee thereof consider expedient, if fifty or more residents fourteen years of age or over, who are competent in the opinion of the School Committee to pursue high school studies, shall petition in writing for an evening high school, and certify that they desire to attend such school. Further, every city and every town containing, according to the latest census, 500 families or householders, shall, and any other town may, maintain a high school adequately equipped. A town of less than 500 families or householders in which a public, high school or a public school of corresponding grade is not maintained, shall pay for the tuition of any child who resides in said town, and who, with the previous approval of the School Committee of his own town, attends the high school of another town or city. A town which neglects or refuses to raise money for the support of schools as required by this chapter shall forfeit an amount equal to twice the highest sum ever before voted for the support of schools therein. As a consequence of such splendid equipment for secondary education, we find in all American workshops graduates of technical schools and colleges, 1605 not the rule of thumb man, but the best trained brains of that continent, and if we mean to compete against such skilled intelligence we must equip our secondary schools in an equal or superior manner, and therefore I ask the Committee to allow the local education authority to be the judge of the amount of rate required in its own district for secondary education.
Organised Science Classes £402 8 1 Pupil Teachers Central Classes 436 12 0 And on the recreative evening classes a rent would have to be paid for use of schools 300 0 0 £1139 0 1
§ (11.10.) MR. MIDDLEMORE (Birmingham, N.)
said that some Members on the Ministerial side had been a good deal surprised and chagrined at this Clause. They deeply regretted the optional character of the Clause, and also that their rights of rating themselves had been limited and interfered with. They felt that it was a humiliation for the local authorities. They regarded secondary education as the greatest educational need of the country. That had been recognised for a generation. Not only was our prosperity imperilled, but what was ten times more important, our manhood and womanhood seemed seriously to suffer. We could not travel in Switzerland, Germany, or the United States, without feeling that at any rate so far as the rank and file were concerned, we were among a more intelligent and a more cultivated race than our own. What had been done to mitigate this national dishonour that had gradually been established in our midst? There was a permissive clause and a limited rate so far as the local authority was concerned. Why should they come hat in hand to the great educational authority in London and pray to be permitted to rate themselves for their own advantage? If they over-rated themselves they would suffer, and if they under-rated and neglected themselves they would suffer. Why should they be interfered with? Why should they be perpetually in leading strings? So far from being discouraged, he thought they should be encouraged by the amplest grant from the national Exchequer in this great object. He for one cordially supported with all his heart a Unionist and Imperialist Government, but he would entreat the First Lord not to make it too difficult for him and those who thought like him to do so.
§ MR. BRYCE
said he was not surprised that the previous speaker, a representative of a great city which had 1606 distinguished itself by educational energy, should have spoken as the hon. Member had done. He could not help hoping that the First Lord of the Treasury, who had shown an open mind during the last two days, would consider the proposal now before the Committee, and he hoped the speech of the hon. Member would induce the First Lord of the Treasury not to make the question a Government question, but to allow Members to vote according to their inclinations. He thought the local education authority might be safely trusted not to spend more on secondary education than the electors desired. The right hon. Gentleman said they must not alarm the electors, and that it was better to go slowly and cautiously in the rural districts where the alarm existed. Then the right hon. Gentleman said that the State already spent £1,500,000 on secondary education. Of course in a sense that was true, but that amount was almost entirely spent either upon technical education or upon those schools covered by the Cockerton decision, which lay on the borderland, and which did not include a great deal of what the Committee desired to promote in the name of secondary education proper. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman's argument was not altogether correct. They had no means at present of knowing what money would be wanted. The needs of secondary education would be entirely different in different parts of the country. In some places the 2d. rate would be sufficient, but in large towns it would be entirely inadequate, and if the local authorities were willing to spend more on secondary education, what reason in the world was there why they should be refused power to do so? If there was a case in which the local authorities ought to be trusted this was the particular instance. Could any one say that there was danger that harm would be done, or that waste would be incurred by spending too much money? He did not believe it. Where the money came out of the pockets of the ratepayers there was every reason for the exercise of economy. He, therefore, earnestly hoped that the Government would give a certain amount of freedom to the Committee on this matter.
§ MR. DUKE (Plymouth)
said that last night he had supported the Government when an attack was made upon the independence of rural councils by a proposal to place them under the direct control of the Education Board. He had no desire that any coercion should be used against rural County Councils, but he protested against coercion being used to hamper the natural action of progressive Borough Councils. He hoped it was not too late for the Government to take a consistent line, and that they would allow Borough Councils, who desired, and whose constituencies desired, to spend money on education, to spend it. He hoped the Government would see their way to give the Committee a free hand in this matter, so that they might be able, without further discussion, to come to some practical arrangement retaining to borough councils the independence which was retained last night for the rural counties.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
said the Committee had heard speeches from three representatives of great cities, and the evidence was that those local authorities should be free from restrictions which might operate in a very mischievous manner. The work of Birmingham was a striking instance of what municipal authorities would do if they were allowed. There was a very great responsibility on the local authorities, and he thought it was very hard that they should not be allowed to exercise their own judgment. He respectfully urged upon the Leader of the House that he should leave the House free on this occasion, as in the last division, to express their opinions without distinction of Party.
§ LORD WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY
said he could not think that some hon. Members had taken a very consistent attitude. Whenever the question of economy could be put in practice, the majority of the House appeared to vote against it, but immediately there was a question of spending the rates to any amount, then there appeared to be a feeling that that should be done. If higher education was good for the country, why did those who advocated it not have the honesty to say there 1608 should be a tax for it. If it were pro posed to put a shilling on the income tax or to impose an extra shilling on corn he supposed they would all be found in the Lobby voting against it. He himself would be inclined to support the Amendment if it were not for the last words, which did not indicate by whom the additional sum which might be spent was to be required. They in Lincolnshire were not made of money like the people in Liverpool and other places, and if the Board of Education sent down to Lincolnshire and ordered them to build a training school for teachers, by whom was the expense to be provided. It was a very curious position to place the local authority in. The moment they took up a question of economy the County Council was hampered, but they were encouraged to spend money.
§ MR. LAWSON WALTON (Leeds, S.)
said that the noble Lord who had just spoken had declared that he was true to his principles, but his principles allowed him to approve of devolution, only provided it did not receive any practical application. He thought he could relieve the noble Lord from his apprehension that the Amendment would have the result which he anticipated. The words "as may be required" would mean, in their present context, as may be required in the opinion of the County Council. The early language of the Clause gave the County Council the power to inquire as to the needs of education in their area, then to arrive at such a scheme as they might think necessary to deal with that necessity, and the Clause concluded by the general statement that the County Council was empowered to raise out of the rates such additional sum as might be required to give effect to the resolution which they had arrived at. That added to the consistency of the Clause. The position of the Government in regard to this matter was very difficult to explain; because when the Committee were discussing whether or not the County Council were to be allowed to do nothing, the Government insisted that they were to be left free to do nothing because of the importance of recognising their independence, and maintaining the sacred principle of devolution enshrined in the Bill. But when the question arose 1609 whether or nut the County Councils were to do as they liked, and grant sums out of the rates, the Government resorted to the method of restricting the independence of these bodies and limiting their powers. He wished to say one word in regard to the practical application of this Clause as it affected constituencies of the class in which he was interested, He represented in this House a very large borough area and it could not be imagined what a strong feeling of rising resentment had naturally been created in that area, by the very strict limitation which the Clause imposed on the city of Leeds with its enormous population They were restricted to a rate of 2d., but on what principle the limit of 2d. had been arrived at had novel been expounded. It might have been 4d., or 3d. or 4½d. To make the limit of 2d. equally applicable to counties like Gloucestershire, and great cities like Manchester and Liverpool was unworthy of Parliament. By what process of logic had this 2d. been arrived at? Why had the Government come to the conclusion that a 1d. was to be disregarded and 3d. was undesirable, and that 2d. was the sacred sum? He would point to the deplorable educational Heptarchy in which they would be involved by this legislation. Different schemes would be sanctioned in different areas by the separate authorities, some of which might be educationally apathetic and others progressive, but on all there would be imposed this cast-iron regulation. There were two fatal blemishes in the Clause: first, it did not leave the local authorities an unfettered judgment, and second, it did not discriminate between urban and rural areas in imposing the limit of taxation. And then it created a difficulty arising out of possible friction between the Education Department and a local authority, for the First Lord of the Treasury had told the Committee that nothing was more easy than to get rid of this limitation, because if the local authority wanted to spend more money they could have recourse to the Education Department.
§ MR. LAWSON WALTON
Well, the Local Government Board, but that was worse. If there was apprehension in regard to the Education Department, which they were told was acute throughout the country, it was ten times greater in regard to the Local Government Board. So that whenever such a constituency as he represented, or as was represented by his hon. friends opposite—cities such as Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham—with a limitation to 2d., there would at once be an appeal to the Local Government Board, and possibly the Local Government Board would institute an inquiry as to the grounds on which this rate was to be exceeded. After that there would be a Provisional Order to allow the local authorities to spend what money they pleased. These were matters on which they were entitled to more explanation; and they also wanted to know why the 2d. limit had been adopted, and why, in this respect, the important principle of devolution had been abandoned.
§ MR. NUSSEY (Pontefract)
appealed to the Government whether it was not possible for them to make some concession on this point.
§ (11.40.) EARL PERCY
said he sincerely hoped that the Government would stick to their guns on this occasion. Already too much had been given in the way of concession. He opposed the Amendment in the interests of secondary education. He agreed with the First Lord that nothing was more likely to retard the cause of education than to make the ratepayers dread a largely increased rate. That was precisely the reason why there had been so much hostility to School Board work. He thought it was too late to talk about local educational autonomy. They could not give the local authority a free hand to spend what they liked, and yet not give them the right to retrench if they pleased. There might be something to be said for the Amendment if any attempt had been made to prove that the 2d. rate would not be sufficient, at any rate to begin the work of organisation and co-ordination. He did not want to start a system of secondary education in this country on 1611 the assumption that secondary education was to be free. He wanted the local educational authority to consider how much money could he raised, and then how it could he spent, either by giving all children a secondary education, or by offering scholarships in higher schools to the poorest and cleverest children. Surely on the lowest grounds that was the best way to rouse the interest of the ratepayers in secondary education.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said that the noble Lord had stated that 2d. would be sufficient to enable the local educational authority to give a start to secondary education. In his own constituency they had applied to Parliament this session and obtained the consent of Parliament to a rate of 1½d. for technical instruction in addition to the whisky money and the Treasury grant. That would enable them to take over the evening continuation schools, the higher grade schools, and the training of teachers. That would require an expenditure of £300 a year more than the 2d. limit imposed by the Bill would provide. The Local Government Board was the last of all bodies which should hold a local inquiry in regard to education. Probably a half-pay colonel would conduct the inquiry as to whether a county borough ought or ought not to be allowed to spend more than a 2d. rate on higher education! That was a somewhat ludicrous position in which to put the secondary education system. The local educational authorities ought not to be hampered with absurd limitations of this kind. He happened to have a good deal to do with education, both primary and secondary, in his own constituency, and he said honestly that with all the expenditure they were now readily and willingly spending on education, there was not one half the provision there ought to be in that centre for secondary education. He appealed to the First Lord of the Treasury not to take a hard-and-fast line on this question. The right hon. Gentleman was quite aware that there was a very strong-feeling on both sides of the House that this would be a very unwise limitation, Let the House consider the absurdity of 1612 what they are doing. The First Lord had made an announcement that a million and a half of money would be given from the Treasury for the purposes of primary education. How would that affect the provision for secondary education? Obviously it would encourage the local authorities to give their greatest attention to primary education to the neglect of secondary education. He believed that in the case of backward authorities it would be an actual temptation to keep scholars at primary education when they were fit for secondary education; for not only was it proposed to give a lump grant to every scholar in the primary schools, but also every additional scholar placed in the primary department would increase the divisor by which the grant was to be computed. That would often be an inducement to the local authorities to stop at primary education.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said that this subject was of immense importance to the great urban communities. The main question to be decided was whether these were to be favoured in regard to the development of secondary education. So far as the rural counties were concerned, nothing need be feared as to extravagance. He had been asked what was the cost of secondary education in Wales. They used the whisky money, raised a halfpenny rate, and they had the additional Treasury grant. He did not think that would be considered excessive, even if secondary education was organised throughout the rural counties of England and Wales. He maintained that the Committee would be doing an injustice to the great urban communities by limiting the rate to 2d. It would be putting a slight upon them, and prevent them from carrying out the organisation of secondary education in the future in a manner which they considered most conducive to the interests of secondary education.
§ (11.57.) Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 178; Noes, 135. (Division List No. 246.)1615
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Flower, Ernest||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Forster, Henry William||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Calloway, William Johnson||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Godson, Sir Augustus Fred'k.||Parker, Gilbert|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elg.&Nairn||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Percy, Earl|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Gore, Hn. G. R C Ormsby-(Salop||Prerpoint, Robert|
|Balfour, Cap. C. B. (Hornsey)||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Rich'rd|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Gretton, John||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir Mic. Hicks||Groves, James Grimble.||Purvis, Robert|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Pym, C. Guy|
|Bill, Charles||Hamilton, Rt Ha Ld G. (Midd'x||Randles, John S.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hamilton, Marq. of (London'y||Resell, Major Frederic Carne|
|Bond, Edward||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Brassey, Albert||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Haslam, Sir Allied S.||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Renwick, Geonge|
|Bull, William James||Heath, Arthur Ho'ard (Hanley||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Butcher, John George||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hope, J. F. (Shef'ld, Brightside||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Round, James|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.||Hoult, Joseph||Rutherford, John|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Howard, John (Kent, Faversh.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Button, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Sadler, Col Samuel Alexander|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Seely, Chas Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Chamberlain, J. Aust. (Worc'r||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kimber, Henry||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Chapman, Edward||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Lawson, John Grant||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Clive, Capt. Percy A.||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Spear, John Ward|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Leveson-Gower, Fred K N. S.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, Noth)||Long, Rt. Hn. Waller (Bristol, S.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge||Lowe, Francis William||Stock, James Henry|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf. Univ.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lucas, Regi'ld J. (Portsmouth||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Macdona, John Gumming||Valentia, Viscount|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Doughty, George||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Montagu, Hon. J. Scot (Hants||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H (York.|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. Hart||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropsh.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.||Morgan, Day. J. (Walthamst.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Morrell, George Herbert||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Dept.)|
|Finch, George H.||Mount, William Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Grab. (Bute|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry|
|Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Caldwell, James||Craig, Robert Hunter|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Crean, Eugene|
|Ambrose, Robert||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Cremer, William Randal|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Causton, Richard Knight||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)|
|Boland, John||Channing, Francis Allston||Delany, William|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Clancy, John Joseph||Dickson-Poynder, Sit John P.|
|Dillon, John||Levy, Maurice||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Doogan, P. C.||Lewis, John Herbert||Reddy, M.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lloyd-George, David||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Lundon, W.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Ffreneh, Peter||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roche, John|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeagh Jeremiah||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||M'Govern, T.||Runciman, Walter|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||M'Kean, John||Russell, T. W.|
|Gilhooly, James||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Shnw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb'rt J'hn||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Grant Corrie||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Green, Walford D. (Wednesbry||Moss, Samuel||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Nortbnts|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Moulton, John Fletcher||Sullivan, Donal|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Murnaghan, George||Tennant, Harold John|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydv'l||Murphy, John||Thomas, Alfd. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Thompson, Dr. EC (Monagh'n N|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Thomson, F. W. (York. W. R.)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Norman, Henry||Tomkinson, James|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Toulmin, George|
|Holland, William Henry||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Tully, Jasper|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'ry Mid||Ure, Alexander|
|Horniman, Frederick John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Walton, Jn. Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary,'N.)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Humphreys Owen, Arthur C.||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Jones, William (Carn'rvonshire||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Dowd, John||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Kitson, Sir James||O'Malley, William||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk. Mid|
|Lambert, George||O'Shaughnessv, P. J.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wood, James|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Peel, Hn Wm Robert Wellesley||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Leamy, Edmund||Philipps, John Wynford||TELLERS FOR THE NOES— Mr. Alfred Hutton and Mr. J. H. Whitley.|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accringt'n||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Leigh, Sir Joseph||Power, Patrick Joseph|
§ It being after midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report progress; to sit again upon Monday next.